As the business landscape becomes more competitive, branding is increasingly becoming integral to success. It allows you to create a company persona that resonates with your audience. However, for your brand to be effective, it must be authentic.
In 2014 an American Brands study was conducted featuring 12,000 respondents from over 12 markets. 91 % indicated that brand honesty and a company’s ability to deliver on its promise are the most valuable elements of any brand. Therefore, even as you seek more engagement, it is essential to assess your branding efforts to make sure they are effective.
You can achieve this by performing a brand audit. This is an analysis of your brand’s current position in the market that allows you to address weaknesses and capitalize on strengths. For a brand audit to be effective, it should assess three primary areas:
- Internal branding- Brand values, company culture, and mission
- External branding- covers your logo, public relations, advertising and marketing materials, and marketing strategies
- Customer experience- Customer service policies, sales process, and customer support
A brand audit allows you to strengthen your position in the market. Read on for a step-by-step guide on how to perform a brand audit.
1. Determine the Criteria to Evaluate Your Brand
The purpose of branding is to distinguish your company from competitors. Therefore, each brand is unique, and there are no set-out criteria for determining performance. How your brand performs after an audit should be in relation to your branding objectives.
Therefore, before you begin the assessment, determine what you want to achieve with your branding efforts. You can do this by assessing and understanding your company’s mission, unique value proposition, vision, and target customers.
2. Understand Customers’ Perception
Since customers are the primary target of your branding efforts, it is vital to understand their view of your brand. Methods such as online surveys, focus groups, email surveys, and social media polls are effective. Seek clarity on:
- The challenges you help them address
- Their feelings towards your brand
- Whether your customer service is good
- How they can describe the brand
- If they would recommend your brand to friends and family
3. Survey Your Team
Employees are integral to your branding efforts. However, without a clear understanding of your branding objectives, they will not deliver desired results. Conduct a survey to find out:
- If they know the brand’s vision
- Their view of the brand
- How to achieve branding objectives and challenges
- Elements that can improve the brand
4. Assess Your Performance on Social Media
Hate it or love it, social media is a powerful business marketing tool. Beyond marketing, it allows you to engage with your audience and build a rapport. However, a big audience does not equate to a large pool of potential customers. Determine whether your audience consists of ideal customers and develop strategies to improve. Also, take note of what customers are saying about you online.
5. Do Web Analysis
Traffic on your website can give you insight into your customers and potential markets to target. Begin by reviewing your sources of traffic. If you have one or two sources, you need to add more to protect your company from sudden changes. Other things to review are whether the traffic comprises your target audience (are you generating the traffic that you want), the bounce rate (are people quickly leaving your site once they land on it?) which can be found on your Google Analytics page of your website, and the conversion rate (do the people who visit your site actually become customers).
6. Survey People Who are Not Your Customers but are in Your Target Demographic
To increase your market share, it is crucial to understand what ideal customers who do not buy from you think of your brand. In your survey, seek to find out whether they know your brand, how they perceive it and the problems it solves, how they can describe it, and how it makes them feel.
A brand audit lets you know your performance but does not necessarily guarantee improvement. To take your brand to the next level, you must use the insight to take action. This should be accompanied by regular monitoring to identify more areas to improve on.
Andy Bush is President of Bush Marketing. Contact him today at 416-214-4298 or firstname.lastname@example.org for a discussion about how Bush Marketing can help your website do more for your business.